The many trials of Cardinal George Pell

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As Cardinal Pell prepares for another child sex abuse hearing, his ‘company man’ style has made him enemies within the Vatican. The Saturday Paper – Mike Seccombe The coincidence could hardly be more unfortunate, but it could not have been foreseen. Back in March, on the second anniversary of his pontificate, Pope Francis announced a year to be dedicated to the major theme of his papacy, mercy. The Year of Mercy, he announced, will begin on the day the church ... Read More »

When conflict arises, these Iraqis go to the madeef

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BABIL, Iraq — “Madeef” is an Arabic word used when referring to a place dedicated to receiving guests. In Iraq, this word has a specific social meaning; it is a place where tribe members, leaders and sheikhs meet, socialize and resolve disputes between each other or with other tribes. Al-Monitor – Author: Wassim Bassem, Translator: Sami-Joe Abboud Summary: Madeefs have become a popular alternative to the traditional legal system in Iraq, with Iraqis seeking the assistance of tribes to settle ... Read More »

Nick Xenophon wants politicans to stop double-dipping

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Independent senator Nick Xenophon wants to stop politicians’ claiming their superannuation if they are given diplomatic postings. Bye Bye Joe Hockey goodbye – Video ”” The former Treasurer has resigned. Denis Carnahan and Rocco Fazzari reflect on budgets past. With apologies to Don McLean (and Madonna).”” The Sydney Morning Herald – Stephanie Peatling, Senior writer * Independent senator Nick Xenophon wants the rules governing politicians’ entitlements tightened to prevent former MPs who take up diplomatic postings from being able to simultaneously access ... Read More »

This week’s column is a public response to an email sent to me from Darwin resident Ian*.

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Maria, I am fed up with looking at your smug face in the newspaper you ugly Greek hag. Did somebody tell you that your wog bitch opinion is important? F*ck off. Ian, Darwin Dear Ian, Thanks for your email. I always appreciate fan mail. I also make it a priority to respond to readers who have taken the time to send me a message, no matter how ideologically opposed our views may be. But the thing is Ian, it appears ... Read More »

Success Is No Longer Foreign to East Timor, but the Players Are

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MELBOURNE, Australia — With so little to cheer in their nation’s brief soccer history, fans of East Timor’s national team would be correct to consider this the squad’s golden era. East Timor, which did not play a World Cup qualifying match until 2007 and did not win one until this year, has advanced to the second round of World Cup qualifying for the first time. The New York Times – By JACK KERROCT Under normal circumstances, the team would be ... Read More »

For Turkey’s Greek minority, an island school provides fresh hope

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On Sept. 28, Turkish newspapers reported that a Greek school was reopened after four decades on the Aegean island of Gokceada, known as Imbros in Greek. In reality, however, the school was reopened after 51 years. Moreover, the closure of Gokceada’s Greek schools in 1964 was not because they ran out of students, as the reports said, but because the Turkish state had shut them down. Al-Monitor – Author: Kursat Akyol *, Translator: Sibel Utku Bila Summary: A Greek school on ... Read More »

Deep down women still accept it is their role to be God’s police

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Julia Gillard’s example shows that women can still only be either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, be a mother or have a career. We need to redefine the role of women The Guardian – Anne Summers Contact author @SummersAnne In 1975, when Damned Whores and God’s Police was published, it did not occur to me that I would have the opportunity four decades later to look back on the world I had described and analysed. But here we are, doing just that. ... Read More »

Opposition Journalists Under Assault in Turkey

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ISTANBUL — Hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against a prominent newspaper here, an angry mob of his supporters descended on the publication’s headquarters, smashing windows, chanting profanities and trying to storm the building. The Washington Post – By CEYLAN YEGINSU Two days later, while the government kept silent over the episode, Mr. Erdogan bashed the newspaper for a second time, criticizing its staff for distorting his words in a Twitter post. That attack ignited a second wave ... Read More »

Are Muslims Fatalists?

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“According to God, your age is written on your forehead.” An Arabic proverb “Sit on a beehive and say this is fate.” Another Arabic proverb[1] After a building crane fell into Mecca’s Grand Mosque on Sep. 11, 2015, killing 114 and injuring 394, the mosque’s Imam Abdul Rahman Al Sudais visited the injured and, as he met each one, told them, “This is God’s will.”[2] by Daniel Pipes * Middle East Quarterly Fall 2015 (view PDF) Middle East Forum Likewise, ... Read More »

The man behind the man behind those Iran deal ads

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The same voice that told you to vote for Barack Obama also told you to oppose his signature foreign policy achievement, the Iran nuclear deal. The Washington Post – By Catherine Ho Video That would be Leif Anders, a voice actor based in Austin, Texas. Anders was hired to do voice overs for some of Obama’s election ads and, more recently, was the voice in this summer’s ubiquitous anti-Iran deal spots paid for by the AIPAC-backed Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran. On Thursday, ... Read More »

Lessons from the Butte Fire

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As I write this, the Butte Fire in Northern California has burned more than 71,660 acres around me. More than 110 square miles. The Huffington Post – In the Gold Country, Mary Wald is the founder of, recent escapee from Los Angeles It started in the Mokelumne River Canyon. I am nearby in Mokelumne Hill, writing in a small notebook by the light from a Coleman lantern as we have had no power for five days. I can’t decide whether ... Read More »

Poorer give more to charities than the wealthier: Commonwealth Bank study

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When it comes to supporting those in need, those with the least to give are often more generous than their wealthier counterparts, according to an analysis of charitable donations. The Age – Rachel Browne, Social Affairs Reporter Low income earners give $286 to charity each year, compared with only $222 for middle income earners and $306 for high income earners. The average donation size is $50 and the winter months are the most popular time for donations. The analysis of ... Read More »

Christian refugees are fine, Muslims aren’t. In a post-racist world, of course that’s not racist

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Of course Australia is a compassionate country, and that entitles us to a return on our generosity: the right to decide who is suitable to receive our compassion The Guardian – Yassir Morsi Is not our current debate about the extent of our “compassion” towards refugees precisely what we ought to expect from a “post-racial” Australia? We’re essentially arguing over how Australia should deal with refugees as an unwanted surplus, without sounding racist. The rhetoric of the debate is driven ... Read More »

Damned Whores and God’s Police: Facebook blocks anniversary promotion of feminist classic

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Author Anne Summers flabbergasted after Facebook tells her it does not allow ‘profanity’ in boosted posts promoting a conference on her pioneering Australian work The Guardian – Michael Safi @safimichael The technology has changed, but 40 years since the release of Anne Summers’s book Damned Whores and God’s Police, the controversy remains the same. Facebook has reportedly blocked Summers from “boosting” a post promoting a conference to mark four decades since the release of the provocatively titled text, claiming it contains ... Read More »

Ancient Greek palace unearthed near Sparta dates back to 17th century BC

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Archaeologists discover palace with archaic inscriptions built during the Mycenaean period The Guardian –  Agence France-Presse Archaeologists in Greece have discovered the ruins of an ancient palace with important archaic inscriptions dating back to the Mycenaean age, the culture ministry said Tuesday. The palace, likely built around the 17th-16th centuries BC, had around 10 rooms and was discovered near Sparta in southern Greece. At the site, archaeologists found objects of worship, clay figurines, a cup adorned with a bull’s head, ... Read More »

Christianity has no room for homosexuality

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Rev Dr Peter Catt and Dr Stuart Edser have offered a strange and misleading picture of the Christian faith. Despite claiming an allegiance to Christianity, their thesis has more in common with a late night ‘reality’ television show than with the teaching and work of Jesus Christ. Brisbane Times – Murray Campbell First of all, Catt and Edser would have us believe that the majority of Australian Christians now support homosexuality and same-sex marriage. However, it doesn’t take much to realise ... Read More »